Afghanistan, August, 2010

With four months left in the year, 2010 is already the deadliest year yet for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 321 have been killed so far (out of 485 total coalition deaths), compared with 313 deaths in all of 2009. As coalition troop size has increased, and moves have been made into Taliban strongholds, attacks are on the rise, and, according to General David Petraeus, “the footprint of the Taliban has spread”. As combat operations in Iraq have now ended, the Obama administration says it will focus even more of its attention on the nearly 9-year-old conflict in Afghanistan. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. This month marks the 12th entry in the series – I’ve been putting these together for one year now, and see no reason to stop any time soon. (42 photos total)

Afghanistan, August, 2010 – The Big Picture –


YouTube – Julian Assange on the Afghanistan war logs: ‘They show the true nature of this war’

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, explains why he decided to publish thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan

YouTube – Afghan Bombshell: WikiLeaks ‘War Diary’ exposes US cover-up

One of the biggest leaks in U.S. military history has exposed several cover-ups over the war in Afghanistan, including the deaths of hundreds of civilians. The whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks, handed over 90-thousand classified documents to British, American and German newspapers. They also include information on increased Taliban attacks, as well as NATO fears that Pakistan and Iran are fueling the insurgency. The White House says the leaked Pentagon files and field reports were no surprise, but that they threaten national security.

YouTube – Colonel Campbell’s War – Afghanistan

Within the dangerously ravaged and disunited country of Afghanistan, one outspoken American Colonel believes more talk, less fight is the way forward. His meet-and-greet style is key to a new campaign, but is it realistic?
Persuading local people to take lawful control of their towns and putting weapons aside in favour of diplomacy, are all part of Colonel Robert Campbells strategy. I’m very passionate about trying to bring security without shooting and dropping bombs and violence, says Campbell, whos been here for the last 12 months, you pour your heart into something like this, you want to see it through, you want victory. But without local support it could all be for nothing. You are not going to stop violence completely, but your ability to control it, that’s what’s going to make this place peaceful, states Campbell.

YouTube – The Hashish Army – Afghanistan

As Barack Obama announces more US troops to train the Afghanistan army, John D McHugh reports on how US soldiers view their Afghan counterparts as ill-disciplined, badly led and with a crippling taste for hashish.

YouTube – You Have the Watches, We Have the Time – Afghanistan

In each new village the story is the same; the Taliban has just left. The soldiers march through dusty villages and rolling cornfields. They are spared the dangers of open battle, but psychological warfare is no easy option.

In the wild and lawless lands of rural Afghanistan the Taliban are playing a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with US troops. Under US commander Capt. Workman we march deep into Taliban country.

YouTube – The New Great Game – Afghanistan

The war for Afghanistan is increasingly being staged from across the Pakistani border. Although Pakistan’s government claims to support the US, it is reluctant to take on the Taliban in tribal areas.

YouTube – Tackling the Taliban – Afghanistan

As casualties mount in Afghanistan, questions are being asked about NATO’s tactics. Can the Taliban be defeated by military might alone or is a more subtle strategy required?

A convoy of 20 armed vehicles rolls into a village. After a security perimeter is established, engineers start fitting a water tank to the village mosque. It’s part of a plan to win over hearts and minds. “If the people support you, then you will win,” explains NATO Spokesman Mark Leity. This strategy of fighting coupled with development was introduced to the South by NATO’s British commander, General David Richards. Much to the Americans’ disgust, Richards also negotiated a truce with the Taliban, which lasted until the US took command of NATO. “There are good Taliban out there as well”, he claims. Richards is convinced his strategy is; “setting the conditions for success”. But last year also saw the highest levels of fighting since the invasion. Almost 200 coalition troops were killed. It looks like NATO’s new American commander will ditch Richards’ tactics in favour of a more aggressive approach.

YouTube – Raw Video: Marines in Gunbattle With Taliban

An AP journalist embedded with troops in Afghanistan recently filmed U.S. Marines firing at positions where Taliban militants were believed to be in the Hemland Province. (May 6)

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YouTube – Raw Video: Marines Fight Taliban in Afghanistan

Missiles, machine guns and strafing runs from fighter jets destroyed much of a Taliban compound, but the insurgents had a final surprise for a pair of U.S. Marines who pushed into the smoldering building just before nightfall. (June 21)

YouTube – Raw Video: Marines Pound Taliban Compound

Missiles, machine guns and strafing runs from fighter jets destroyed much of a Taliban compound in Now Zad, Helmand province, in Afghanistan on Saturday. (June 22)

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